student / poet / creator
'Purple and Gold' is a series of interviews I did at the start of 2018 with high school students from Columbia High in Lake City, Florida. Their portraits and interviews were focused on their self image, perceptions of success and how they plan on achieving that. As with all stories from here interviews, the goal is to establish sense of place. These subjects are unique in that their sense of place has not been fully formed yet, so it's a delightful case study about identity, when it's being solidified. Taylor is a junior who loves playing her ukulele and would be the first in her family to go to college.
On balancing her time
"My life right now? It's really just school, Method Poetry, friends and family. I try to fit in enough time for everyone else before I fit in time for myself. I have designated time to spend with my family. I have designated time to talk to my friends. Add in homework and I have a small amount of time to decompress and be by myself. But I feel selfish saying that especially when I know need to be more disciplined and spend more time practicing and studying.

Summer is a little better because school is such a routine, all these classes with specified time periods and you have a lot going on. Summer is when I finally get time to do the things I wasn't able to in the school year. I actually picked up the Ukulele during a past summer.

It's weird though, knowing that you have less free time as an adult than you do as a child. It's disappointing. I kind of thought once school was over, I could have time to myself to make my own decisions and spend my time however. But you gotta get a job and life doesn't just stop, I guess. 

I just really want to have enough time to do all the things I want to do. It's sobering and a little sad to know I can't expect to have time to do all the things I want to."

On travel
"One thing I really want to do is travel. There's so much beauty out there and I want to see it. It's a different thing to look up a picture of Italy than to actually go there. There's just so much in the world that I want to see. All these monuments, all this culture and all this history that's just waiting to be seen. I don't want to just look at it on a computer screen. I don't want to just hear about it. I don't want to just read about it. I want to see it. I want to be there. I want to feel it."
On privilege
"I mean I know I can't just go travel. Money exists, time exists.  I can't just like be like, "Hey mom, hey dad, let's drop several grand right here right now." 

My parents would give me anything if they could. I just, I see how hard my parents work and I couldn't bring myself to ask them for not essential frivolous things like cute dresses or expensive trips. My dad is on the road a lot. My mom works a 9 to 5 at an glasses place. They already do so much for our family I couldn't ask them for anymore."
"I think getting old scares everybody. It's not about looking old, it's losing your time.  It's just going and you're passing through all these stages in your life so fast."
On responsibility
"My parents do so much, they are so responsible. Their values definitely rubbed off on me. I feel responsible to my little brothers. I want to set a good example for them like my parents do for me. And that's not the say they aren't doing great, they are. I just want to do whatever I can to make them feel loved and supported.

I feel responsible for my friends. They feel responsible for me. My parents feel responsible for me. But it's kind of crazy how I might get to the point where I'm fully responsible for my parents like taking care of them when they're older. I think getting old just kind of scares anybody. It's not about looking old, it's like your time. It's going. You're passing through all these stages in your life so fast. But it's also nice to get old, because some people don't have that luxury."
On college
"I really really really want to go to the University of Florida. I would be the first person to go to college in my family, it's a great school, it isn't that far away and my dad loves the Gators. So many of my teachers that I look up to went there and I can't help but think of how cool it would be to go there as well and follow in their footsteps.

It's really competitive though. My parents have always wanted whats best for me and they promised me that no matter what they would help me get through college because neither of them did it. They say a college degree can put you really far you know? My mom and dad had to work really hard because they don't have their's. They had to prove themselves through willpower and just work. They don't want me to have to do that. I want to make them proud.

And if I didn't get in, I would be crushed obviously.But I don't know. Maybe it wasn't meant for me? It's been something I've been working toward all this time, and maybe I'm just idealizing it."
"I'm much more comfortable in myself and in my skin. I'm not like I used to be."
On success
"Success to me is working hard and spending all my time to achieve one goal. Like say I study super hard for a Spanish test and ace it, that would be success for me. Failure would be if I left everything for the last minute, not if I studied and then did poorly. That isn't to say I'm not hard on myself. I'm just learning that effort is what I can control so I am pouring myself into that."
From Lake City, FL
Lives in Lake City, FL

*other stories to consider

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